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Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Peak Oil Goes to Washington

When I heard Richard Heinberg speak about peak oil at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair last summer, he mentioned that he had discussed it with his congresswoman, Lynn Wolsey (one of the most progressive members of the House). He asked Wolsey why peak oil was never discussed in Congress, even by her or Kucinich or Barbara Lee or anyone. Heinberg said that Wolsey replied that it would be political suicide--peak oil was a topic no politician would touch.

Well it turns out that peak oil has been discussed in Congress recently--by a couple of Republicans from Maryland. This video shows Rep. Wayne Gilchrest introducing Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, who then speaks for about an hour. (Here's the transcript.)

The money quote from Bartlett?
Let me mention that M. King Hubbert looked at the world situation. He was joined by another scientist, Colin Campbell, who is still alive, an American citizen who lives in Scotland. Using M. King Hubbert’s predictive techniques, oil was predicted to reach a maximum in about 1995, without perturbations. But there were some perturbations. One of the perturbations was 1973, the Arab oil embargo. Other perturbations were the oil price shocks and a worldwide recession that reduced the demand for oil. And so the peak that might have occurred in 1995 will occur later. How much later? That is what we are looking at this evening. There is a lot of evidence that suggests that if not now, then very quickly we should see world production of oil peak.
(emphasis added)

BTW, Bartlett builds solar homes, drives a Prius, and voted against drilling in ANWR. Here's a statement from his web site:
I have been a consistent advocate of energy efficiency and greater reliance upon less polluting renewable energy resources. I voted for passage of H.R. 6, the 2003 House Energy Bill. I did so for the provisions promoting energy efficiency and renewables. I voted against drilling in ANWR, arguing that those resources should be preserved for future.

With regard to greenhouse gas emissions and their climate impact, I will continue to advocate for improved energy efficiency and increased reliance on clean, emission free solar, wind, ocean and bio-energy resources as a sensible way to address these concerns.
A Republican in the House talking about peak oil and global warming. Maybe there's hope after all.